It must have been a rough night, as I opened my computer to find the lyrics of Sku' du spørg' fra no'en open in my browser. But anyway, to the rehearsals:
Well, they're very glittery. That's not a bad thing. They're vocally better than I remembered - I assume it's partly due to Eirodziesma sound being poor and partly thanks to the backing singers know their job. The most remarkable part of the choreography is them (the two PeRs, the guitarist and the keyboardist) doing some kind of pretend high gravity slow motion soldier march on the catwalk during the DUBSTEP. The rest of it is mostly them jumping about. If you're the kind of person who likes singers you don't know asking you to make a noise (twice!) during the song, you might like this. The guitarist has a tablet device and a shiny hard Latvian flag on (or instead of?) guitar. I'm pretty certain this has never been done before.
Third go and the pretend audience (the actual human ones, not the Spock cardboards) are carrying the stagediving lead singer towards the end. I'm hoping for something like this - quite a similar song when I think of it. I hope Merethe is standing by.
Overall this makes perfect sense as an opener, kickstarty and the basses sound great. Still 3 minutes of noise to my ears, but they're making the best of it.
The much awaited for choreography, but it's basically their preview video put onto a stage (well just the Valentina parts, no old woman wearing a paper bag sadly). Valentina holds the illuminating crystal ball, or gooseberry or whatever, but when she sets it down there's a rather noticeable hole in the bottom for the battery to go in. The change of rhythm part involves the silent backing dancers coming to life and helping her strip into the red sheet - it's all very red from that moment on. It's also very, very Andorran. Her vocals are fine, but I can't stop expecting Anabel Conde to come behind her and add some shrieks.
Second runthrough lasted about thirty seconds, Monetta had some sort of problem, possibly with her glowball, and asked the director to stop. They didn't stop though, for another twenty seconds or so. Rude.
Third go lasted all three minutes. On closer attention to the backing dancers, they're starting lying face down and folded, then raising very slowly as if they're doing some sort of yoga. After the beatchange they have their own (smaller) red sheets and are basically two mini-Valentinas. Overall it seems that they've learned of last year's mistake of overchoreography, but Valentina still seems too focused on her vocals to actually interact with the cameras.
Last runthrough and there's a bit more camera interaction this time - they must be aware of the fact that they really need to work on this. But they still have a long way to go.
Song begins with the camera sneaking behind Vlatko - pretty effective and almost gives the impression that this is going to be a normal song. The rest is the mess we knew it was going to be - although some of this can be improved with rehearsals. Esma better change her purple dress, at the moment it completely blends in the purple background and all we we see is her floating head, and the accreditation badges hanging on her wrist. The sound mix of the backing singers and the beat is a pain to my ears and needs a lot of work too. On the bright side, Esma herself sounds a lot better than she did in Amsterdam and Vlatko's voice is as great as always.
The feed was off for most of the second run-through, so we just looked at funny pictures of cats during it, until we finally got the last few leleleleleleleleleleleleleleleles of the song. The only impression I could get is that they're still very much experimenting with the staging.
Third go with some more attention to the sound - this is definitely a different backing track to what I remember, much more electronic (even during his parts). I guess it's ready for the clubs, but not quite sure yet if the new mix works for the better overall. The backing singers are supporting Esma during much of her actual lyrics part - good idea, I think. Vlatko had a few problems with his earpiece, but overall an improvement on the first run and the press theatre liked this.
Last runthrough and it all seems much more competent now, with Esma having more charisma in her little finger than much of the acts we've seen put together. I'm still not sure about that sound mix though. At least there's no DUBSTEP...
Well, now we know what happened to the I from Sylvia Vrethammar's magic SYLVIA glass letters. It stayed in Malmö Arena, and a man got into it. And Fərid is sitting on top of it, with the man reflecting everything Fərid does for much of the song (invertedly. Upside down. Scary stuff).
Later the glass box becomes the Crystal Dome, the trapped man apparently collected four crystals and had twenty seconds of pink confetti swirling around him. He didn't catch any. Oh, and there was some girl wearing a long red sheet. Oh, and Fərid was as charming as always and perfect vocally, but almost nobody seemed to notice that because of the shock of everything else going on. The commentators (in countries where they're allowed humour) are going to love this.
Second go and little has changed - they've obviously rehearsed this for months to the very detail, the dancer's movements are in perfect synch with Fərid's. The sheet/trail on the girl's red dress is as long as the catwalk, literally. A much bigger sheet than San Marino (I mean Valentina's sheet, not the country) (actually the country too).
Third time with some more attention to sound mix - the backing singers are almost invisible, I only got a tiny glimpse of them (three, I think) in the dark background. But they're very much there - and they're helping him most (if not all) the time. And it's done quite well too, considering it took me so long to even notice their presence.
Last go added smoke on the stage - a nice touch I think. The glass box has become full of fingerprints by now. And after getting over the initial shock, I'm loving this a lot. Lunch time now, Sild and his banana socks will take over after me.